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Sierra Leone News: Reduce premature deaths from NCDs

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), primarily heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes, are the world’s leading cause of death. NCDs, according to the UN, kill 40 million annually, more than any other cause of death. Of these deaths, 15 million occur prematurely among people aged 30-70 years and 7 million in low- and low-middle income countries.
“It is shocking to see the growing toll that diseases like cancer and diabetes are taking on the people who can least afford healthcare,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ad-hanom Ghebreyesus.
At a meeting of Heads of State and ministers from around the world, on Wednesday 18 October 2017, participants endorsed the Montevideo Roadmap 2018-2030 on NCDs as a Sustainable Development Priority at the opening of the three-day Global Conference on Non-communicable Diseases in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The aim of the roadmap was to initiate bold action to reduce suffering and death from non-communicable diseases.
According to a statement from the WHO, the pledge follows an agreement by world leaders to reduce “premature” deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.
“Governments must act on pledges to prevent these diseases in the first place, and to ensure that people can obtain services to treat them,” the WHO Director-General added. “Failure imposes massive costs on individuals and communities. It totally contradicts global commitments to sustainable development.”
Dr. Alie Wurie, Director of NCDs with the Ministry of Health, said he wasn’t able to make it to the conference but they agree with the initiatives and the WHO directives.
Co-conference organizer, President of Uruguay, Dr. Tabaré Vázquez, said the Montevideo Roadmap represented a bold commitment by governments to intensify action to protect people from the harms of NCDs.
“Governments should be fully committed to reducing the toll from NCDs, as the human and economic costs are far too great to ignore,” said Dr. Vázquez. “This places a heavy responsibility on governments to act. But by taking determined action to protect people from the main risks causing NCDs, we will make it easier for people to enjoy healthier lives, while supporting communities and countries to grow and develop strongly.”
The Montevideo Roadmap highlights the need for coordinated and coherent action from all sectors and the whole of society, as many of the main drivers of ill health lie outside the control of health ministries, systems and professionals.
It also points out that the bulk of NCD deaths could have been prevented by action against tobacco, air pollution, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol – as well as by improved disease detection and treatment.
Dr. Vázquez added, “Education ministries need to ensure our youth are well informed and taught how to make the healthy choice, that schools make available healthy food and provide opportunities for play and recreation.”
The Montevideo Roadmap will guide global preparations for next year’s United Nations General Assembly third High-level Meeting on NCDs. The meeting will assess countries’ progress in meeting the target of reducing premature NCD deaths by 25% by 2025 and then by a third by 2030.
By Zainab Joaque
Friday October 20, 2017.

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